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InfoSec News Nuggets 4/20/2020

For seniors on COVID-19 lockdown, Alexa proves to be a valuable friend

At the Eskaton assisted living communities across Northern California, residents and staff are doing their best to create a shared sense of hope and solidarity through the COVID-19 pandemic.  To keep residents safe, communal rooms are closed for activities, but hallway happy hours have become a common occurrence. Residents must eat their meals in their own apartments, but the staff has treated them with door-to-door candy deliveries. Visitors are no longer permitted on premises, but tools like messaging apps and videoconferencing are helping residents feel connected to their loved ones. 


COVID-19 Has United Cybersecurity Experts, But Will That Unity Survive the Pandemic?

The Coronavirus has prompted thousands of information security professionals to volunteer their skills in upstart collaborative efforts aimed at frustrating cybercriminals who are seeking to exploit the crisis for financial gain. Whether it’s helping hospitals avoid becoming the next ransomware victim or kneecapping new COVID-19-themed scam websites, these nascent partnerships may well end up saving lives. But can this unprecedented level of collaboration survive the pandemic?


Zoom-bombing disrupted a House Oversight Committee meeting

A US congressman says that miscreants have managed to disrupt a Zoom meeting held at the highest levels of the US government, despite warnings against using the software. The event took place on April 3, according to a letter sent to the House Oversight Committee chairwoman by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). “[I]n spite of the warnings by the FBI and media outlets, on April 3, 2020, you held a Zoom-hosted Member briefing on women’s rights in Afghanistan with the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR),” Jordan wrote.


UN’s internet access goals won’t be met the way we’re going, research shows

While billions of people see internet access as a given, there’s a very real digital divide — 46% of the world’s population is still offline. In times of crisis, lack of internet access means people are denied access to scientifically accurate information, as well as the ability to communicate with loved ones, work remotely or buy essential goods from online retailers. The UN has two key targets it wants to hit that would see billions more people brought online, but research published Friday in a blog post by the Web Foundation — the organization set up by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the web — shows that it’s not on track to hit either of them.


Codementor launches Code Against COVID-19 to match volunteers with software projects

Codementor, an online education platform for software developers, is launching Code Against COVID-19 to match volunteers with software projects to fight the pandemic. The initiative, which Codementor is not making money from, wants to connect coders with universities, non-profits, local government agencies and other organizations. Some of the programs Code Against COVID-19 is currently working with include Safe Paths and Covid Watch, both of which are developing tools to stop the spread of COVID-19 while safeguarding personal privacy. It has also connected developers to grassroots projects like Hospital@home and a UX designer working on a geofencing app to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.


Cybersecurity Home-School: The Robot Project

So here we sit at home, enjoying a long spell of enforced togetherness with our loved ones. If those loved ones include children, then our houses have become classrooms. That means pulling lessons together — and what better lesson to teach than cybersecurity? Here at Dark Reading we aim to provide useful information for our readers, no matter where they’re spending their working hours. With that in mind, we put the word out that we were looking for projects that could teach useful cybersecurity lessons with a bit of fun mixed in, and people have begun to respond. Today’s project features cybersecurity and robots, and can teach a wide variety of lessons about each.


Hackers could destroy 3D printers by setting them on fire

It sounds improbable, and very scary, but it’s conceivable that a hacker can compromise a 3D printer, override temperature safety constraints, and potentially cause the device to actually catch fire. As spotted by The Register, this is the worrying claim put forward in a blog post by security firm CoalFire, which leveraged an exploit against a FlashForge Finder, a popular 3D printer aimed at home and classroom use. Note that CoalFire makes it clear that the Finder is not an insecure device, but rather the issues it has are more of a general security oversight with 3D printers, and that this model is “probably safer and more secure than most similar competing devices”.


Hacker leaks 23 million usernames and passwords from Webkinz children’s game

A hacker has leaked today the usernames and passwords of nearly 23 million players of Webkinz World, an online children’s game managed by Canadian toy company Ganz. The Webkinz game launched in 2005 as the online counterpart of a line of Ganz plush toys. Users could enter a code from their plush toy on the Webkinz website where they could play and manage a version of their toy in the form of a virtual pet. The game has been one of the most successful online children’s games of the past decade next to Disney’s Club Penguin. However, today, an anonymous hacker has posted a part of the game’s database on a well-known hacking forum. ZDNet has obtained a copy of the leaked file with the help of data breach monitoring service Under the Breach.

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